The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of adults working from home and the number of children attending school from home. More than half of American workers are working remotely, and children are also interacting and learning through technology. Many of us still have parent responsibilities while working from home and, in short, are on double duty. It sometimes feels like a snow day that never ends. How do we juggle tending to our child’s needs while meeting the needs of our supervisors, clients, and co-workers? Read more
Children will benefit by setting up a schedule and getting organized. Try staying committed to bedtime schedules and setting up a daily schedule that works for both of you. Planning takes some preparation. Consider using techniques that were supportive during in school learning. You may consider laying out clothes and making lunches the night before. Encourage children to help with these duties; you can even let them take the lead. Plans may differ according to age but be consistent. Daily check–ins before, during, and after work and school help to let children know you are there for them. When possible, create an individual workspace for you and your child. A nearby location will help to eliminate stress and may help children feel more serious about their work. It can be difficult spending all your time with the same people but being honest about your needs and having open dialogue improves the overall moods of all involved.
Scheduling and prioritizing your own work will help to eliminate stress during this time of uncertainty. Facetime, Zoom and other platforms can help you to connect with colleagues and children’s teachers. Be specific and direct when needing help, and ask questions when necessary. Keeping a routine will also help. Things like getting up at a certain time, getting dressed and eating breakfast will make you feel more productive and lead to higher success levels. Your schedule does not have to be rigid, nor does your work environment have to always be the same. Change it up during nice days. Try working outside or going on an afternoon nature walk when possible. Writing a to–do list can make it easier to prioritize what needs to be accomplished. Music can also help to motivate you when working from home; it also helps with our need for sensory cues that we were accustomed to when things were normal. Taking breaks is so important. Yes, it’s okay to take short breaks! Get up and walk around and stretch. Make sure you give your eyes a break too; staring at a screen can be taxing. Encourage your children to do the same. Try to take some time away from technology: no computers, tablets, or cell phones.
This is a time of uncertainty and many of us feel anxiety with all the unknowns. Look to your support system. Children have them too. Encourage them to talk to you, their friends, and family members. Stay positive. Changing your expectations of what the day may be like is a must. You will be interrupted, maybe a lot. You may not accomplish everything you wanted to do. The important thing to remember is to learn to be okay with it. Remember your child is watching you and how you adapt to this new norm. And above all, you are not alone: We are all in this together!